For me, remaining open and teachable is the best advice I ever received and it has stuck with me ever since my very first job after graduating college.
I love this advice for two reasons:
First, it’s a simple reminder that no matter how long I work on perfecting my craft, there’s always more knowledge to gain, somebody to share a different point of view or create a better way. And it almost always leads to something bigger and better.
Second, this advice has guided me in taking multiple career moves – steps up, down, u-turns and jumps. Perpetually open to trying and learning often led to the most exciting jobs and even a few surprise successes throughout my career.
I’ve applied this advice recently in leading my team through multiple organizational changes. As a leader, it’s easy to feel like I should have all the answers and there’s humility in realizing I don’t. I’ve genuinely leveraged this advice, ensuring input from the entire team before making a change. Time and time again, it was proven that I don’t have all the answers and remaining open and teachable always leads to improved results … and a stronger team.
I credit this advice to my manager in my first job post-college. I remember it like it was yesterday, we were sitting in a small conference room discussing what it takes to be a valuable leader. As a front line team leader in a potato chip factory, I had a lot to learn! Not only did I need to learn how to manufacture and package your favorite salty snacks, but I also had to learn what it would take to make a difference in the day to day leadership of my team. Throughout my years as an undergrad business student, we didn’t talk much about leadership, a topic I wish more universities taught their business students. Regardless, to this day I am grateful for this manager and the time he took to teach and share his advice on becoming an exceptional leader.
Whether you’re starting your own small business, or managing a team for the first time, or even leading a team in a potato chip factory, my hope is that this resonates with you as well.